News World Australian ‘specialist’ could hold key to 30-year-old Himalayan mystery

Australian ‘specialist’ could hold key to 30-year-old Himalayan mystery

It is unknown if an Australian is among a team of climbers found dead in the Himalayas. Photo: Getty
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An Scottish mountaineer is hoping an unnamed Australian “specialist” can shed light on the fate of two climbing friends after their remains were discovered in the Himalayas, 30 years after their disappearance.

Steve Aisthorpe, 55, told Church of Scotland news on Tuesday that the long-sought after bodies of Kristinn Runarsson and Thorsteinn Gudjonsson have been discovered on the edge of a glacier.

The pair, both from Iceland, were last seen alive in the Himalayas at a height of about 6600 metres on October 18, 1988.

Mr Aisthorpe, a Church of Scotland official who accompanied the two 27-year-olds on a four-man expedition, said the discovery of their remains “inevitably brought many emotions to the surface”.

He said further clues about what exactly happened to the men could lie with two camera films found in one of their jacket pockets, which he said had been sent to a specialist in Australia for development.

Kristinn Rúnarsson (L) and Thorsteinn Gudjonsson (R). Photo: Church Of Scotland

Mr Aisthorpe said he initially went searching for his friends a week after he advised them to continue the expedition without him after falling ill with a stomach ailment.

He said two weeks of searching failed to find any trace of the pair.

“I’ve never felt as alone as the day I arrived back at our high camp [after the search],” he said.

A helicopter was dispatched to join the search five days after they went missing.

“In 1988, there were very few helicopters in Nepal and those that existed were not capable of the kinds of searches and rescues that take place in the Himalayas these days,” he added.

“I was onboard and we soared above the site of our high camp and began to scrutinise the lower part of our route,” he said.

When Steve Aisthorpe left the area after weeks of searching, he was convinced his two friends fell somewhere high on the face of the mountain. Photo: Church Of Scotland

Three decades later the  bodies of the missing men were discovered by an American climber at the snout of a glacier below the climb route, suggesting they into fell into a crevasse.

Mr Aisthorpe said judging by how their ropes were positioned, Mr Runarsson and Mr Gudjonsson were on track to reach the face of the mountain when disaster struck.

He said their remains must’ve been progressively brought down over the years by a retreating glacier.

The bodies were taken to the Nepal capital, Kathmandu, by a group of local climbers and a cremation service was attended by relatives of the men who took their ashes home to Iceland.

Mr Aisthorpe said he plan to travel to Iceland to meet the men’s families.